Voles and Finches and Snakes, Oh My! Navigating the Housing and Care of Nontraditional Species

By Angela Craig, DVM, lab animal veterinarian and IACUC member at the University of Minnesota

PRIM&R is pleased to share a post from Angela Craig, a member of the PRIM&R Blog Squad for the 2015 Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) Conference. The PRIM&R Blog Squad is composed of PRIM&R members who blog here, on Ampersand, to give our readers an inside peek of what is happening at the conference in Boston, MA.

If you typically house laboratory mice at your institution, their identification as the species needed for use on a study presents few challenges. IACUCs are well-versed in reviewing their care and use, and their husbandry and veterinary requirements are well-defined in The Guide and other references. But, when the species needed for a study is nontraditional, it requires a new approach. Managing Nontraditional Species When They Come Into the Laboratory, a didactic session at the 2015 IACUC Conference presented by Joanne Morris, DVM, DACLAM and Robert S. Sikes, PhD, provided attendees with a full toolkit of ideas and resources related to this topic. I am excited to share this helpful information with you by summarizing a few of their key points.

Logically, the planning for housing nontraditional species begins well before they arrive at your institution. Information about the preferred housing conditions of species is available from expert biologists, zoologists, and field veterinarians. Preparing for nontraditional species takes a team approach with the IACUC, husbandry staff, vets, principal investigators (PIs), and expert consultants all coming together with the common goal of ensuring the humane care and use of these unique animals.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.